For over 50 years, the Imprimerie du Marais has elevated the art of foil printing and embossing to craft exquisite printed materials for some of the luxury market's biggest brands. Four years ago, the print house launched a new atelier dedicated to packaging. First published in our sister magazine Formes de Luxe, we spotlight on an expert in its field.
Last year, the Imprimerie du Marais moved into a new three-story, 1500-m2 home—a former foundry in Paris’s Oberkampf district. The fashionable printing house needed plenty of space for its eight ateliers, two new cylinder presses, and a new Geitz flatbed hot foil stamping machine.
Since entering the packaging market four years ago, the print house has doubled its foil printing workspace. Print specialists work like goldsmiths, creating fine foil stamping designs—embossed, sculpted, micro-embossed, etc.—that can now be printed directly onto cardboard, delivering thicker and more durable results. “Automation enables us to achieve more consistent results and higher quality prints, with less hands-on involvement,” says Mélody Maby-Przedborski, Director of Marketing and Communication. “But our work remains semi-artisanal— we’ve kept our two Heidelberg automatic platen presses and one hand-fed platen press. Our dedication to the craft of fine printing can be seen in the exquisite details—that’s what clients come to us for.”
A neighborhood print shop in the 1970s, the Imprimerie du Marais now has an international clientele and opened a London office in 2017. “We started working for major luxury clients in the 1990s, building on our historical core businesses—high-end stationery (for hotels, restaurants, museums, etc.) and print communications (invitations and press kits)—used by luxury brands for their key events.”
Whether for Paris Fashion Week or happenings for the happy few, the Imprimerie du Marais has become the trusted partner of many big names in fashion, beauty, and even gastronomy. For ADMO, Alain Ducasse’s recent pop-up project at Les Ombres—the restaurant at the Quai Branly museum in Paris—the Imprimerie du Marais crafted a menu with matte and metallic effects, combining tone-on-tone hot stamping and multilevel embossing.
With unrivalled expertise in an array of printing techniques, the Imprimerie du Marais stands out from the crowd, attracting top brands: “Offset printing, screen printing, UV printing, foil printing, embossing, bespoke stickers, envelopes—thanks to all our different ateliers, we don’t have to subcontract anything, we can produce everything in-house. This gives us the advantage of being able to take on the most complex of projects from start to finish.”
While stationery and print communications still make up the bulk of business at the Imprimerie du Marais, packaging is gaining ground: “Due to the global health crisis, many events had to be canceled, and cases, coffrets, and other packaging items became a much bigger part of our business.” Whether for prototypes or limited editions (500–1,000 pieces), brands seek out the print house for experiential packaging projects reserved for the press or VIP clients. “For a German tech brand that wanted to present its latest webcam to influencers, we designed and produced a box with two trays and a magnetic closure that was completely lined with debossed black waxed paper with a fabric-like texture from Winter. It’s embellished with stamping, hot stamping, and touches of black-on-black screen-printed varnish.”
Between a series of cases for a limited-edition knitwear collection featuring oversized foil-stamped and embossed designs for Gaultier and the mosaiclike embossed typographies on an invitation for Kenzo, the Imprimerie du Marais—which has been granted the Imprim’Vert label for sustainable practices—also looks to providing eco-friendly solutions. “Brands are showing significant interest in solutions like glue-free packaging and coffrets made to be re-used. We’ve developed three sustainable collections, and we use around 100 sustainable materials, all sourced in Europe (including recycled papers, with or without by-products; pressed flowers in natural resins, ideal for inserts; compostable paper rich in glucose that nourishes bees…). These are papers rich in character that can be used with sustainable techniques (such as blind embossing and vegan screen printing) to produce sophisticated results.”
Take for example the Kenzo invitations meant to be planted, printed with water-based inks on recycled seed paper. Or the invitations to the first Nanushka show at Paris Fashion Week, made with fair-trade bark from African trees. Yes, the materials were sourced from afar, and the cards were gilded with metallic black foil, but luxury has its codes, which seem difficult to break away from completely.